Former SEAL Started Popular Military Podcast

When former Navy SEAL, John Allen, posted a story on TikTok in 2020, the last thing he expected to get was millions of views. Let alone millions of views in a few hours. The veteran’s post about a popular military mystery, and the internet went wild for the tale.

That was the start of what would eventually become the MrBallen Podcast: Strange, Dark & Mysterious Stories, where Allen digs up military-based stories and shares online. He’s gotten so many downloads in a short amount of time that it’s the #2 podcast on Spotify, and the #1 true crime show on the entire platform.

He’s also collected 5.4 million subscribers on YouTube, where he tells the same military mysteries on video. While his TikTok account, MrBallen, has more than 8 million followers. His social accounts show teasers of his videos and podcasts, as well as images of his family life.

Some of his most popular stories include titles like, The Most Feared Girl in Mexico, Real Life Kill Room, and The Worst Death Story on the Internet – each of which has earned more than 3 million views in just a few weeks of being posted live.

Much of his content is based on military mysteries, though anything with a strange tale is fair game on MrBallen’s show.

Life as a SEAL

Allen joined the Navy and attended boot camp in 2010. Shortly after, he went through BUD/S training and became a SEAL after about two years of training.

He deployed to Afghanistan in 2014 and was injured when a grenade sent shrapnel into his arms and legs. Allen is quoted in saying it was a “close call,” thinking it would be the end of him.

Allen went on to heal, got married, and had three children with his wife.

He continued to serve as a SEAL until 2017, when he began working in military fundraising in the civilian world. It was during this veteran boosting stint that he began posting on social media about military life. Allen shared posts about his military service, and content about other veterans. Then, his post about the mystery went viral, and he continued with the theme.

A SEAL’s Take

When it comes to Allen’s podcast, listeners can expect to gain a variety of content. In addition to hearing about true crime and mysteries, however, they get an insider look at what it was like to be a SEAL. He sprinkles in stories about military life, including his time as a SEAL.

It’s part of this insider look that has helped make his show so popular. To-date, he is one of the most popular veterans on social media, and likely the veteran with the biggest podcast following – an impressive stat indeed.

To learn more about Allen’s journey in the Navy, or to hear his incredible insider stories, check out the MrBallen Podcast: Strange, Dark & Mysterious Stories. You can also follow MrBallen on TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, or Instagram.


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